|Not part of Riordanverse|
|“||My wife. She loved me, and so I killed her.||”|
–Aru Shah and the End of Time
Shukra is the guardian of the Bridge of Forgetting.
Shukra was born ugly, with a gruesome smile and skin riddled with scars. Yet, he was a good king, what he could not perfect in his body he tried to perfect in his mind. However, for many years Shukra was ashamed to show himself to his subjects, so he chose to rule from the shadows. Yet, when his bride, Irsa, first looked upon him, her smile never wavered. She held her palm to his cheek and said, "Our love is what will make us beautiful." This was true as Shukra slowly began to become handsome. After four years, he was as resplendent as his wife.
But the impatient Shukra wanted more, for his wife's beauty went hand in hand with joy. So he installed mirrors everywhere, even in the floors. He made checklists by which he might daily appraise his altering visage. He was continually discarding his clothes and trying new outfits. Shukra began to neglect his people, even his wife as he was furious that she was more beautiful then him. One day, he asked Irsa if she still loved him, but she says he has changed. Before she could finish what she was saying, Shukra killed her. He doesn't remember how he did, but he couldn't get rid of the beauty he received from her. So he destroyed everything that gives off reflection, yet couldn't escape the truth he lost.
After leaving the Palace of Illusions, Aru Shah and Mini arrive at the Bridge of Forgetting. They start to forget things due to the snow, that's when Shukra arrives and restores their memories by getting rid of the snow on them. Shukra makes them sit in cold chairs while he tells them of how he killed his wife and is now forced to have his mirrors around him to remind him of pain. He cries when he finishes his tale, Mini apologizes but Aru has two parts, she took pity and was also disgusted for someone selfish like him killing someone like that.
Shukra wanted all of their memories in exchange for them to cross the bridge so he wouldn't be alone, the memories are needed to form the rest of the bridge. The girls refuse despite him suggesting they could make new ones, but it starts snowing again when they try to cross the bridge themselves. Aru got the idea of breaking Shukra's mirrors so the snow will fall on him instead. This works and they make it to the other side, but before disappearing Shukra curses Aru to forget something when it will matter the most. This curse is believed to be not being able to kill the Sleeper.
Shukra was distant and unearthly beautiful like how one could watch a thunderstorm brewing across the ocean and find it lovely. He was tall and dark-skinned, his hair was a shock of silver. His eyes were like blue chips of ice. His jacket and pants were an unnaturally bright shade of white. His teeth, however, were black, crooked, and filed to points.
Five mirrors floated around him, they are the memory of his mistakes and they prevent the snow from falling on him. One was over his head, one was below his feet, one was on his right, and one was on his left. The last one floated at chest level, high enough that he would only need to tilt his chin down to see his reflection.
- Shukra is a Sanskrit word meaning "lucid, clear, bright".
- Shukra is also the name of the god of Venus.
- The scene with Shukra on the Bridge of Forgetting was the most difficult/emotional scene for Roshani Chokshi to narrate.
- Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 30
- Aru Shah and the End of Time, Ch. 40